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This we all recognize at once as of the very highest importance for the true welfare of the country in the present crisis. The various organizations and operations for promoting the moral and religious health of the community and the land, and for exerting a beneficent religious power on the world-these are all left in our hands; and it is of vital importance, and therefore our imperative duty, to keep them up in full vigornot only to maintain them in outward form and prosperity, but to inspire them with the true life of benevolence and piety. It is ours to see that the institutions and operations of religion and benevolence do not languish, while our brethren are gone to the battle. They have gone, leaving them in our When they return, if (which may God grant) they are permitted to return, let them find these chief elements of their and our country's welfare in vigorous life and prosperity. Let each one, then, remember that true patriotism forbids him to neglect those duties and services which are essential to the prosperity of religion, even though it be from martial zeal or an enthusiastic interest in public affairs. Let each one of us remember that in this crisis patriotism requires that he should be found in his place, sustaining the ordinances of religion and the various services necessary to the vitality of religion-in his place in the church, in the Sabbath school, in the convocations for prayer, in the manifold movements of religious effort and benevolence, and be ready, if need be, to do double duty there, and to stand in every gap which is made by the absence of workers, or in any way by the exigency of the times. Let all remember that it is incumbent upon those who remain at home to keep the moral and religious tone fully up to the true pitch.
There is unquestionably a peril here. For a time of war is a time of great excitement, when attention and interest are powerfully arrested and diverted to national affairs and distant objects—a time, moreover, when there is great liability to malign passions and evil measures. Of this peril we should beware; and so triumph over it, as we may.
But, on the other hand, there are moral advantages in a righteous war. It invigorates the righteous spirit. It devel
ops devotion to justice. It calls out loyalty to God's ordinance of government and law, and thus loyalty to God himself. It cultivates the spirit of self-devotion and self-sacrifice-true heroism. It sends us to God as our refuge and strength, and teaches us to lean on him and call on him. Of this advantage let us avail ourselves, to keep up the moral tone of the community. Let us keep the moral aspect of this conflict in the foreground-as a conflict to which righteousness and piety call us. Undoubtedly we should humbly recognize our sins, as one reason why God permits this trial to come upon us, and even our sins as it respects the underlying cause of this war. Yet we are sure that on the part of our Government and its loyal defenders, the conflict itself is a righteous conflict, in which to yield would be recreancy to duty and to God. Certainly if ever there was a government ordained of God, and a ministration of God for good, this government is. If ever rebellion and treason were palpable and atrocious, this rebellion, this treason surely is-rebellion and treason against such a government as this. If ever, therefore, rebellion and treason should be put down by the sword, which God has given to his appointed rulers to be borne by them not in vain, this treason and rebellion should be thus put down. It is clearly the will, the command, of God.
We may expect, therefore, by recognizing this moral feature of the war, and putting it in the foreground,-by looking upon it as a war on our side to which both patriotism and piety summon us-we may expect that the tone of morals and religion will be elevated, instead of being depressed.
But, then, we must accompany this, as we have said, by the diligent employment of the usual instrumentalities of religion. And this, if done, must be done by unusual liberality and self-denial. The losses caused by the repudiation of debts in the seceded states, the derangement of business produced by that repudiation, and by the imminence and actual event of civil war, will make difficult the support of churches and mission schools, and especially of great organizations of religious benevolence like our Missionary Societies-all which need a steady support. If we do, in this respect, what the
Lord would have us, and what true patriotism requires, we shall have to exercise liberality and self-denial in an unusual degree. Those who have met with losses should make their appropriations to the objects of religion and benevolence the last place for retrenchment. And those who have been so favored as to have few losses, should, by the exceeding abundance of their liberality, make up for the necessary deficiency of others. The millions which have been poured forth, within a few weeks, to aid in our country's defense, prove that a few hundred thousands, for those organizations which contemplate the spiritual salvation of the land and the world, might be easily given, if the fountains of our hearts should flow in that direction in a like manner, though in a very inferior degreeas in an inferior degree they should; since these Christianizing instrumentalities call upon us regularly, and from year to year, while our country's defense against treason and rebellion calls upon us rarely. We expect to settle this matter now so effectually that a like call will never come to us again. While, then, our patriotism gushes, as it should, in liberal streams for our country's defense, let our benevolence and self-denial so abound that all the Christianizing agencies for our community, for our land, and for the world, shall be carried forward, at the same time, without embarrassment, and with vital and victorious power.
In conclusion, we would press upon our readers this moral and religious department of duty for those who remain at home, while their brethren go down to the battle. For it is preeminently important.
The moral and religious forces of the country-they must be kept up in full vigor during the war, or our country's welfare will suffer immensely, though rebellion and treason be put down. Upon those moral and religious forces, war, even a righteous war, brings a great and fearful strain. Such a war is not the greatest of evils; it will even bring great benefits, if we keep up the vital moral tone. Yet it heals by wounding-by using the caustic. Its efficacy is like that of the ploughshare to the turf-bound earth; or rather like that of the surgeon's knife to the diseased body. Unless the body it
self is strong with healthy forces, the wounds will not result in healing, but in more rapid dissolution. These vital forces we must nourish, in the way which has been pointed out, or fearful moral disaster will come upon us in connection with the war.
Let us to this end be mindful of our position before God. Let not our elation at the righteousness of our cause, and at the unanimity and power with which it is espoused by the loyal part of the country, prevent a humbling sense of our unworthiness, and of the truth that this evil has come upon us as a judgment from God for our sins. Let us bear in mind that, while we have manifold other sins, we are not free from guilt even with respect to that system of oppression, which most of us regard as the underlying cause, and all regard as at least the occasion, of this war of rebellion. If the guilt of that system of oppression more deeply stains one portion of this land than the rest, we are not on that account to maintain an attitude of self-righteous pride. The readiness with which our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, have adopted and defended that oppression, when once they have become domesticated in the midst of its perverting influences; the zeal and spirit with which many among us have apologized for, and upheld it, and even endeavored to render odious all who have efficiently opposed it; the cruel and oppressive legislation of many of the free states toward the defenseless colored race-all these declare too plainly a wide defect among us of that humane, much more of that Christian, sentiment, on which alone can be founded any claim by us that we are free from guilt in this matter. Let us humbly feel that it is for our manifold sins, as a nation, that God has permitted this judgment to come upon us. Such a feeling will tend strongly to restrain us from that vindictive spirit to which we are, and shall be, so urgently tempted. And it will give us the best temper in which to meet the trials, which the war is sure to bring. We know not yet just what those trials will be. We know not where the bolt will strike; but it has gone forth, and somewhere its blow will surely be felt. There is not one of us, probably, who will not experience something to remind us that we are suffering
under the chastisement of God. And some of us will feel it in sorrows, that will end only with life. This swelling tide of patriotic excitement, which has lifted us up and floated us above all fear of personal peril or sacrifice, when it subsides, must give place to the endurance, which knows no fluctuations, but will work steadily and patiently on for the conservation of what remains after much has been sacrificed.
The power of the army itself, its healthy moral tone, the spirit which will make it strong in the force of right purpose and noble sentiment-this will depend very much on us who remain here at home. It will depend, more than can be computed, on the earnest prayers, offered in private and in public, to the God of nations and the God of battles. It will depend much on the tone of feeling, communicated from us, through so many channels, to those in the army who have with us the sympathy of friendship and kindred. Oh! who is there, that feels strong enough in himself for such duties and responsibilities as are thrown upon us now! What Christian does not now say with deeper meaning than ever, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble;" and does not long to take a firmer hold on his arm, and to ally himself, more closely than ever, with clean hands and undivided heart, on the side of his purposes in the earth?
Many of our readers, doubtless, feel as we do, that it would be a privilege to go down to the battle-a privilege which paramount duty denies to us. But we are not, therefore, precluded from labor and sacrifice for our country. There is labor and sacrifice for us who stay by the stuff. Our part, indeed, may be the most difficult-to take up, and bear with faith and patience, patriotic burdens at home—to endure here, every day, unheroic work and trial, with heroic hearts.
Why is it that the people everywhere are radiant with joy, like the earth before the harvest? Why is every face filled with light, so mysterious in full view of the calamity of war? Is it not that God is offering to crown this age with a glory like that, and even surpassing that, of the era of our great Revolution? He calls upon us to confirm and perfect that work of